Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

BIIF Wrestling from Konawaena – Who let the Cats Out?

Troy Gibson Jr., gains an advantage over his Wildcat opponent

Who let the Cats Out?   That’s what wrestlers from around the Big Island Interscholastic Federation were wondering when they exited the Konawaena Gym on Saturday after a grueling day on the mats.The host Wildcats were short on numbers and experience, according to Coach Mark Aoki, but huge on heart and determination as Sage Aoki, 120, Justin Raymond, 108, and Aimee Shiraki, 220, came up with big matches.Shiraki was unstoppable going 3-0 while winning all of her matches by pins against formidable opponents from Kau, Pahoa and Hilo.“I like the outside single move,” Shiraki said.  “Sometimes I get too ambitious with my moves and get caught off balance.”Shiraki attributes a great part of her wrestling success to judo as the sophomore comes onto the mat as the BIIF defending judo champion.Judo has definitely helped me in wrestling,” she said.  “I like wrestling because it is different and I like the competition and the chance to meet new people.”

Shiriki

Shiraki made it to the state championships last year as a freshman, but missed medaling by one match.

“My goal is to make it back to states this time around and to hopefully medal,” Shiraki said.

Aoki and Raymond are defending BIIF champions and they looked primed to repeat, having extremely competitive     matches which should pay big dividends by the end of the season.

Gibson

Kamehameha sophomore Troy Gibson, wrestling at 135, had a perfect day on the mat winning all three of his matches, two by pin and the other by 17-0 score.

“I beat two Pahoa and one Kona guy,” Gibson said.  “My favorite pinning combination is the cradle move, but I still need to work on my cardio.”

According to Gibson he has been building endurance by running on his own before practice and working on his muscle mass by doing weight training with his father.

“I’ve always liked wrestling since middle school because I like the one on one action and there are no excuses when you lose,” Gibson said.

Gibson’s goals for the season are straight forward.

“My goal is to be the best student athlete that I can be,” he said.  “I’m not looking beyond just being the best that I can possible be.”

Souza vs Aoki

In what is considered the premiere match up of the day it was Kona’s Sage Aoki going against Kamehameha’s Nalu Kekona-Souza.

Aoki is the defending BIIF champion at 108 and bumped up a weight class to challenge the slightly bigger Souza at 125.

“I admire Sage for bumping up to face one of the best wrestlers in the league,” Warrior Coach Brendan Courtot said.  “Sage wrestled up to challenge himself and gain better competition.”

The tough match up against Kekona-Souza went the distance with Souza winning on points by a score of 14 to 3.

Kekona-Souza went a perfect 3-0 in Kona and believes that his match up with Aoki was the best that he can find in the BIIF.

“Sage is great competition and when he gets on top he is a hammer as he always comes into the match with the right attitude.”

Kekona-Souza is the two time defending BIIF champion at 120 pounds, but will look to win his third league title at 125.

“I’m hoping to be a three time BIIF champion and to go on to win a state title,” he said.  “I came in second at states this past year at 120 and I’m pretty happy with my wrestling performance, but I still want to get better.”

Kekona-Souza is a perfect 6-0 in BIIF completion this season and beat Aoki by using a single leg take down, putting the Wildcat on his back to score enough points to be awarded the tough win.

Also delivering a perfect 3-0 record in the Wildcat gym was Kamehameha’s Charlie Aina in the 130 weight class.

“I had wins against Pahoa, Keaau and Kona with my toughest match coming against the Kona wrestler,” Aina said.

Aina, a junior, won his first match by a 17-2 score and pinned his Keaau opponent before going the distance in his third and final match to scratch out a narrow 4-2 victory.

“In most of my wins I use an ankle pick,” Aina said.  “I have good endurance and I have really good conditioning which helped me in my final match on Saturday.”

Aina also comes from a judo background which helps him in his wrestling.

“I condition year round for judo and I run on my own and lift weights on the weekends,” Aina said.

“I’m hoping I can take the BIIF title, but I know I need to improve my attacks as I tend to wait too long,” Aina said.

If Aina’s last name sounds familiar it is because sister, Megan Aina, is a former state wrestling champion who continues to make great strides in her mat performance at Kamehameha.

Present in the Wildcat gym, but staying on the bleachers was Waiakea standout Tanalei Louis at 130.  Louis is a perfect 9 and 0 in BIIF competition but decided to sit out at Kona.

“I’m nursing an ear infection and just wanted to watch and cheer on my team,” Louis said.  “I should be ready to compete next week when we are at Keaau.”

The BIIF wrestling season continues on Saturday with an all-schools meet at Keaau starting at 10 am.

January 9, 2012 Posted by | Wrestling | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

BIIF Wrestlers Do Well at Officials Meet on Oahu

Kona’s Tanalei Louis proudly displays her 2nd place medal

Waiakea’s Tracy Poch made a name for herself over the weekend as the junior claimed top honors in the 175 pound weight division in what is considered the biggest wrestling tournament in the State of Hawaii.

“I took five boys and two girls over to Oahu to compete in the Officials Wrestling Tournament and Tracy came away with a first place title and Tyler Yonemori took second for the boys’ 145 division,” Waiakea assistant coach Preston Sato said during a phone interview.

“This was the largest wrestling tournament in the state with over 900 participants,” Sato said.  “The event allowed us to test our moves and gain valuable experience.”

The Waiakea coach believes that Poch has the ability to win the state title at 155 or 175 pounds.

“Tracy was second in the state last year at 155,” Sato said.  “She’s learned a lot during the past year and she continues to improve at each practice and she can be tough at either weight division, although we’re going to try to compete her at the 155 division.”

Tracy Poch

“I’ve been working hard during my training this season,” Poch said.  “With effort and good coaching I think I can defend my BIIF title at 155 and win at states.”

Sato returned to Hilo with his athletes on Sunday evening then was planning on leaving Monday to take them to the Maui Tournament.

Yonemori in just his second year of competitive wrestling worked his way through the championship bracket winning his first and third matches by pin and winning his second match by a 10 to 3 score.

“This was a good experience for me and I learned a lot by participating over the weekend,” Yonemori said.  “My only loss was in the finals when I was outscored by Chance Uyeda of Lahainalua.”

Tyler Yonemori

Yonemori the defending Big Island Interscholastic Federation champion at 140 pounds is also a state judo champion and is expected to compete at the higher weight class this season.

Hilo’s Jordan Enos placed third in the 130 division as Viking Coach Alex Kalawe brought three boys and one girl to compete at Leilehua.

“We invited our returnees and those with the best chance for success,” Kalawe said.  “Jordan was our best finisher and our lone girl managed to take fifth place in her division.”

“I had six matches and I won five and lost one,” Enos said.  “My best move was the outside low single where I do a low squat and instead of shooting for the ankles I do a spin around move.”

Enos, now in his senior year, comes to the mat more confident and motivated to do well.

“It’s my senior year and I plan on winning the BIIF at 130 pounds and then place at states,” he said. 

Perennial BIIF boy’s team champions, Kealakehe, also took a squad of six boys along with one girl to compete.

“We need to get more experience and a higher level of competition during a shortened BIIF season,” WaveRider Coach Mike Ciotti said.

Konawaena, sophomore Tanelei Louis, made it all the way to the finals in the 130 bracket before dropping the match to the defending state champion Mindy Chow from Punahou.

“I had three matches prior to facing Mindy,” Louis said.  “I won all three by pin with two coming in a barbed wire and the other in a reverse half.”

Louis, the BIIF champ at 125 as a freshman last year, believes that she will return to that weight class to defend her title.

“I have a lot of confidence from my Dad who works with me and teaches me about wrestling,” she said.

Wildcat teammate Sage Aoki, competing in the 120 class, received a controversial disqualification in his first match for what the officials considered a “slam.”

“We questioned the call,” Kona coach and Sage’s dad, Mark Aoki said.  “We didn’t think that was the right call, but it was considered an opening match loss and Sage was forced into the consolation bracket.”

“I was riding the guy from the back and when he stood up I came in front of him for a double leg flip and he landed on his shoulder and wasn’t able to continue,” Sage Aoki said.

Aoki who won the BIIF title last year at 108 has bulked up to 120 will compete during the season at the higher weight class.

“I wanted to get bigger and stronger so I did a lot of weight training during the summer,” Aoki said.

Aoki had an easy time as he went undefeated during six matches in the consolation bracket to take third place overall during the tournament.

“Despite my first match loss I had a good experience and was able to get in a lot of matches where I could practice a variety of moves,” Aoki said.

Pearl City won the girls team scoring title with Waiakea being the highest scoring BIIF team at 14 place out of 27 teams competing.

For the boys it was Punahou winning with Hilo coming in at 21 out of 32 teams.

December 23, 2010 Posted by | Wrestling | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

BIIF Wrestling Preview – Kamehameha girls expected to repeat

BIIF season kicks of at WHS on Sat.

It will be a season of rebuilding and mystery, according to several Big Island Interscholastic Federation wrestling coaches.

“I spoke with several of the coaches at our coaches meeting and it sounds like many teams, like us, graduated a lot of wrestlers last year and are in the rebuilding stages,” Honokaa coach Dan Whetstone said.

Whetstone believes that there are no clear favorites to win the boys BIIF team title and that Kamehameha has the inside track at winning the girls title.

“The only wrestlers I have returning that have a track record are Jessica Muskat and Geo Chavez-Pardini,” Whetstone said.  “The only girl that Jessica lost to on the island last year has graduated, so she should be the girl to beat in her weight class and she should improve on her sixth place finish from last year’s state tournament.”

Chavez-Pardini suffered a knee injury while working out with a state all star team on Oahu over the summer and Whetstone says that it will be hard to predict what his recovery time table will be.

“We’re hopeful that Geo can regain his previous form by the time league championships roll around, if not sooner,” Whetstone said.

Kamehameha girls return as the BIIF team champions and are lead by senior Rustee Johansen.

Johansen is the BIIF champ at 130 pounds and is a Warrior team captain.

“I stayed in shape by working out during the summer and lifting weights,” Johansen said.  “My goals are to have another successful year and to do better than my fifth place finish at states last year.”

Coach Marlon Miller returns as the Kamehameha girls coach and is looking at several returnees along with a host of new, young talent.

“I’ve been blessed with a great returning squad of young ladies,” Miller said. 

Starting at the 98 pound class Kamehameha returns state champion and two time BIIF champ, Megan Aina.  Aina, along with 11 other Warrior girls began the preseason by competing in the Punahou Girls Invitation on Nov 27 and was very impressive on the mat.

State Champion Megan Aina with Coach Miller

Aina, with teammate Jasmine Iuta, 175, won their weight classes with six other Warriors placing in the Punahou tournament which had over 230 girls competing.

“I still need to practice harder and work harder if I hope to defend for the state title,” a humble Aina said.

Iuta, just a sophomore, won both her matches at Punahou by pin and considered the tournament to be a good momentum builder going into the BIIF season.

“It was great experience for me to come and wrestle on Oahu,” Iuta said.  “We did great as a team and we all benefited from the experience.”

“We did very well at Punahou as we had medalist in eight of the 11 weight classes,” Coach Miller said.  “Punahou looks like the team to beat in the state and Molokai will be the sleeper this year.”

The Warriors have Kanoe Padaken, second in BIIF last season, and the Pohina sisters, Noelle and Pomai returning to the mat.

“Jasmine Iuta, Liana Soares and Sable Marie Young are three more of my returning sophomores that should secure the future of this girls program when I’m long gone,” Miller said.

Miller is also high on Alexia Osburn, saying that she will add to the Warriors strength on the mat.

“I have a total of seventeen girls this year and although that is a great number to have I do have a few weight classes that I am unable to fill,” he said.

Miller believes that this is the best girls recruiting class he has ever had and that they will make a strong bid to repeat as team champions.

On the boys side the Warriors are led by second year coach Brendon Coutot and feature three time BIIF champion, Justin Hirae.

Nalu Kekona-Souza and Akoakoa Paleka-Kennedy will anchor a talent squad along with Charlie Aina, Gavriel DeRego and Kema Chin.

“I expect a solid performance from our two other juniors, Jason Roland-Fernandez and CJ Matsuyama,” Miller said.  “We have numerous first year wrestlers that have excelled beyond our expectations as coaches.  The recruitment numbers aren’t quite what we would like them to be, but what we lack in quantity, we more than make up in enthusiasm and determination.”

Hawaii Preparatory Academy’s Gary Jarvill returns three boys and three girls from last year’s squad.

“Shannon Samura, Troy Choi and Leila Wong all went to state last year and should do well again this season,” Jarvill said.  “We will be rebuilding and starting from scratch this season with all of the other new wrestlers.”

Keaau Coach Charles Manning chose not to speculate on the Cougar chances this season, saying that it was too early to tell.

“I do not like to speculate this early in the season as to who will be the tops in weight classes as I feel that it is counterproductive,” Manning said.  “As for team expectations we expect to work hard and improve all season long.  I’m sure we will be represented well in the BIIF when championships are on the line.”

The Konawaena Wildcats graduated several key grapplers, but still managed to return some BIIF champions.

“Melissa Dumaguin, a senior, and Tanalei Louis, a sophomore, both return for us, including my son Sage Aoki,” Wildcat coach Mark Aoki said.

Dumaguin won the BIIF crown at 130, while Louis took the 125 division and Aoki battled to victory at 108.

“Some of our BIIF champions may be moving up in weight this season, but we’ll just have to wait to see where they’ll be at,” Aoki said.  “Kona is in a rebuilding year as most of our team is made up of new kids.  I think Kealakehe is in the same situation as us, but Kamehameha seems to have the edge for the girls.”

Kau has a returning sophomore, Keani Mello-Waiaiaole who won the heavyweight, 220 bracket, as a freshman last year.

“Keani will return for us along with two of her sisters and all three should do well,” Trojan coach Kevin Rence said.

Kealakehe, the defending boy’s team champion, is going through their own rebuilding year as the mighty ‘Riders have won seven league championships over a nine year period.

The secret to Kealakehe’s success has come in their ability to be competitive in most or all of the 14 weight classes.

“We have 25 boys out for wrestling this year and I’m hoping we can once again fill all the different weight divisions,” ‘Rider coach Mike Ciotti said.

Leading the way for Kealakehe is defending BIIF champion Tim Eckert in the 215 weight class.

“Tim’s returning for us along with sever boys that placed at the BIIF championships last year,” Ciotti said.  “We’ve won four consecutive boys team titles and we should be competitive in going for our fifth in a row.”

Some coaches failed to return phone calls regarding the upcoming wrestling season which begins on Saturday, Dec. 11, at Waiakea.

December 5, 2010 Posted by | Wrestling | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment